This recipe expands to feed the masses, is fun to get messy at the beginning, smells wonderful at the end, and requires almost no thought.
1 lb ground beef
1 box Rice-a-Roni (beef flavor, and I try to get the low-salt version)
1 T. butter or margarine
2.5 C. water (or whatever the back of the Roni box says)
You'll need either a frying pan and a crock pot, or just a big deep frying pan with a lid.
Get out a big bowl, take off all your rings, and get messy! Mix the meat, the box of 'Roni, the envelope of 'Roni seasoning, and the egg in the bowl. Gushy gushy in your fingers. Then roll little meatballs.
Put the frying pan on the stove on medium-high. Melt the margarine/butter/oil in the pan. Place the meatballs in the pan. Leave them for about a minute, or until the pan-side is brown. Shake, stir, roll, etc. to brown another side of the meatballs. Repeat until most of the meatballs are mostly brown on the outside.
Cook the meatballs and the rice in them:
Either transfer the meatballs to the crock pot or assume that they will stay in your frying pan for the rest of the liquid stage. Pour the water over the meatballs. Cover the pan with the lid. If you are staying with the frying pan, turn the heat on the stove down to where you see a simmer - little bubbles and a little steam coming out, but not a huge column of steam escaping from the lid. Set your timer for half an hour. If you are going with the crock pot, set it on high and set your timer for half an hour.
Fake yourself out:
When the timer goes off, pull out a meatball. Cut it open. Admire the uncooked rice in the center of the cooked meat in the meatball, put both halves back into the now-gravy-like goo, and set the timer for 10 more minutes. Alternatively, eat the crunchy meatball because it smells too good to wait.
Best served with: carrots, or other crunchy veggie options.
Variation: add a second box of Rice a Roni (and accompanying water and seasoning packet) into the surrounds of the meatballs for much more rice/gravy goo.